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Here's an old puzzle:
Alice: How can we formalize the idea of "surprise"?
Bob: I think surprise is seeing an event of low probability.
Alice: This morning I saw a car whose license plate said 3817, and that didn't surprise me at all!
For everyone still wondering about that, here's the correct answer! The numerical measure of surprise is information gain (Kullback-Leibler divergence) from your prior to your posterior over models after updating on the data. That gives the intuitive answer to the above puzzle, as long as none of your models assigned high probability to 3817 in advance. It also works for the opposite case, if you expected an ordered string but got a random one, or ordered in a different way.
This is actually well known, I just wanted to put it on LW.
Grognor has reportedly died: https://twitter.com/MakerOfDecision/status/898625422270889984
Sad. He didn't like me, but I mostly liked him.
A better explanation of the Monty Hall problem:
A game show host always plays the following game: First he shows you 3 doors and informs you there is a prize behind one of them. After allowing you to select one of the doors, he throws open one of the other doors, showing you that it's empty. He then offers you a deal: Stick to your original guess, or switch to the remaining door?
What is the most important piece of information in this problem statement? I claim that the bit that ought to shock you is that the host plays this game all the time, and the door h... (read more)
After reading yet another article which mentions the phrase 'killer robots' 5 times and has a photo of terminator (and robo-cop for a bonus), I've drafted a short email asking the author to stop using this vivid but highly misleading metaphor.
I'm going to start sending this same email to other journalists that do the same from now on. I am not sure how big the impact will be, but after the email is already drafted sending it to new people is pretty low effort and there's the potential that some journalists will think twice before referencing Terminator in... (read more)
A too easy problem
Just a house somewhere near Minsk
What, to you, is the difference between a hardcore popular science book and one of the serious science publicistics? It seems to me that it must be great, and I miss the former kind, and I can't be alone in this, but it's the latter kind that gets published, weakly supported by the distributors and occasionally, sold.
By 'gets published' I mean here in Ukraine, although it might be true for other countries.
In the Less Wrong Sequences, Eliezer Yudkowsky argues against epiphenomenalism on the following basis: He says that in epiphenomenalism, the experience of seeing the color red fails to be a causal factor in our behavior that is consistent with us having seen the color red. However, it occurs to me that there could be an alternative explanation for that outcome. It could be that the human cognitive architecture is set up in such a way that light in the wavelength range we are culturally trained to recognize as red causes both the experience of seeing the co... (read more)
Is there any appetite for trying to create a collective fox view of the future?
Model the world under various assumptions (energy consumption predictions + economic growth + limits to the earths energy dissipation + intelligence growth etc) and try and wrangle it into models that are combined together and updated collectively?